Old Town House, Cape Town

Old Town House, Cape Town

The Old Town House was built in 1755. It was one of the first two-story structures built in Cape Town. This beautiful Cape Rococo-style building features a three arch portico, white and yellow plasterwork, and gorgeous fanlights.

The Old Town House is one of the oldest, best known, and admired buildings in Greenmarket Square. Greenmarket Square itself is considered the historic center of Cape Town.

The Old Town House is also known as the Burgher Watch House; it was built on the site of a former fire watch house. The building housed the Burgher Senate, then a magistrate's court. It served as a police station, and next became City Hall. It finally became an art gallery in 1916 and is home to the Iziko Michaelis Collection of 17th-century Dutch and Flemish paintings.

This impressive collection of old masters was donated by Sir Max Michaelis, who wanted art students to study great art without leaving South Africa.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Cape Town. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Old Town House on Map

Sight Name: Old Town House
Sight Location: Cape Town, South Africa (See walking tours in Cape Town)
Sight Type: Museum/Gallery
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Cape Town, South Africa

Create Your Own Walk in Cape Town

Create Your Own Walk in Cape Town

Creating your own self-guided walk in Cape Town is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Cape Town Introduction Walking Tour

Cape Town Introduction Walking Tour

Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias first mentioned the Cape of Storms in 1488, but it was soon renamed the Cape of Good Hope with an optimistic eye towards the trade routes it offered between Europe and the East.

In 1652, the Dutch East India Company settled a way-station here for ships traveling that route. Cape Town's natural harbor and strategic position made it the perfect location....  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles
Historical Houses Walking Tour

Historical Houses Walking Tour

When Jan van Riebeeck arrived in Cape Town in 1652, his mission was to establish here a supply station for the ships of the Dutch East India Company sailing to East Africa, India, and the Far East. The oldest buildings in today's Cape Town, dating from the second half of the 17th century, are the remnants of that era.

Garden House, originally a shabby tool shed owned by the Dutch East...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Bo-Kaap Quarter Walking Tour

Bo-Kaap Quarter Walking Tour

Bo-Kaap is Afrikaans for "above the Cape." The Bo-Kaap District is above Cape Town's city center, on the slopes of Signal Hill. It is the historical center of Cape Malay culture. In the 1760s, Jan de Waal bought land here and built houses he rented to his slaves.

Slaves came from Malaysia, Indonesia, and other parts of Africa. Many of these slaves were Muslim, and this area...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 Km or 0.6 Miles
Cape Town Shopping Tour

Cape Town Shopping Tour

Cape Town is grand with quality shopping opportunities. Greenmarket Square, once the heart of Cape Town's business district – started off as a a slave market, then turned a cattle market – is just one of them. Today it houses South Africa's best flea market where one can find a broad selection of merchandise, from tribal costumes to precious jewelry and more.

Pan African Market is...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.4 Km or 0.2 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


16 Distinctively South African Things to Buy in Cape Town

16 Distinctively South African Things to Buy in Cape Town

The many hopes pinned on this place (Cape of Good Hope) by passing-by sailors over the centuries must have done a good job for Cape Town, seeing it become a colorful cultural hub and prominent metropolis (3rd largest) in South Africa. Overlooking the meeting point of the two oceans (Indian and...